This study examined links among parents’ depressive symptoms, attacking conflict behaviors, childrearing disagreements, and their over-reactive discipline using a community sample of 39 mothers and fathers. Correlational analyses provided considerable support for the expected associations among the study variables. Notably, when a regression-based approach recommended by Baron and Kenny (J Pers Soc Psychol 51:1173–1182, 1986) was applied to the data in order to more fully explore the links among the study variables, findings indicated different pathways of influence among the study variables for mothers and fathers. Mothers’ attacking behaviors partially mediated the link between their depressive symptoms and over-reactive discipline; whereas, fathers’ depressive symptoms and attacking behaviors were independent predictors of their over-reactive discipline. Further, fathers’ childrearing disagreements served as a mediator in the link between their depressive symptoms and over-reactive discipline. Findings suggest important targets for therapeutic intervention and lend support to the Family Systems Theory notion of spillover effects, especially where fathers are concerned.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Life-span and Life-course Studies